Let county commissioners entrench?

Should voters allow the five well-paid individuals who govern one of Colorado's biggest counties, Arapahoe, to settle in for 12-year stretches instead of the current 8-year maximum provided by law? That's the question on county ballots that my family and our half-million neighbors will soon receive in the mail. Commissioner Rod Bockenfeld says no to the idea, as do I. Here is Bockenfeld's argument: Recently the Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners approved an initiative to be placed on this year’s election ballot which will be mailed by mid October. The initiative will be requesting voters to expand terms limit for County Commissioners from two four-year terms to three four-year terms. The Board was split on this vote. Commissioner Pat Noonan of Aurora and I were opposed to the initiative. A couple of Commissioners had the desire to place this initiative on the ballot - it was not the taxpayers demanding change. The cost to the taxpayers of Arapahoe County to place this initiative on the ballot will be anywhere from $90,000 to $130,000. Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars?

Several years ago, the voters of Arapahoe County did approve expanded terms for the other county elected officials such as the Sheriff, Coroner, Clerk & Recorder, Treasurer and Assessor. Expanded terms for these offices can be justified due to the technical nature of the positions. The Board of County Commissioners at that time did not include the Office of Commissioner because they felt that it would appear to be self serving. Now, a majority on the current Board of County Commissioners feels that because the other offices were given expanded terms they can justify this initiative by asking for equality. I disagree with their logic, it is still self serving.

I don’t believe the Citizens of Arapahoe County want career politicians representing them in Littleton. They want people who are going to take office, make a difference and then go back to their private lives. When I was elected, I knew I had one or two terms to make a difference. Term limits keep elected officials motivated to work hard and to create good government. That is the definition of public service. Career politicians get more and more influenced from special interest groups over time. One only has to pick up the newspaper and read about the goings on in Washington D.C. to understand this concept.

Lastly, the reason this initiative is being run in an off year election is because there is an expectation that there will be a low voter turnout. A low voter turnout on these types of ballot questions increases the odds of success. So, surprise them! When you receive your ballot in the mail, make sure you fill it out immediately and mail it back.

Let’s keep our elected officials as public servants and not career politicians. Let’s keep our elected officials accountable to the people. Let’s keep fresh blood and fresh ideas in the Commissioner’s Office. I’m asking you to please vote “NO” on expanded terms.

By Rod Bockenfeld Arapahoe County Commissioner District # 3 Email: rbockenfeld@co.arapahoe.co.us 303-795-4683